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Our small firm of 7 employees has pop3 email accounts and no mail server. So, our emails are delivered to each Outlook email client. The individual Outlook PST files are saved and backed up on a file server, but we have no way of viewing each others email, which creates a problem when working on the same project b/c one team member may get an email the others weren't CC'd on. Ideally, we need a solutions like Exchange's Public Folders, so we can all view the same project folder. There's lot's of 3rd party apps and mail server programs, including Exchange, that will provide Public Folders, but for reasons not worth getting into, we're on a zero budget and the powers that be don't want to spend even a couple hundred dollars to get us there, so I'm trying to approximate this on a shoe string budget.

My predecessor purchased a mail server that supports IMAP. My question is, if I move our emails to our mail server (which I intend to do regardless of Public Folders) and set up a dummy email account "projects@ourdomain.com", couldn't we all share this one email account with our Outlook clients as a shared email repository? Complete with a separate project folder for each project?

In other words, Outlook supports multiple email accounts. So, my Outlook client would access my email account "rich@ourdomain.com" and "projects@ourdomain.com". If we landed the "Main Street" project, I would create a "Main Street" folder in the projects@ourdomain.com account and every time someone sent me an email to rich@ourdomain.com relating to that project, I would manually or automatically have it sorted to the Main Street folder in the projects@ourdomain.com account. Team members viewing this account would then see all my emails and vice versa.

It's not ideal, e.g., you'd have lots of redundancy due to CC'd email, but there are simple ways to eliminate copies. Would this work? If so, are there other problems I'm not seeing?

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Everything would work with no problems. The only issue is that you can't have any folder types other than email ones. So you'll not be able to create public calendars, contacts, tasks, ... using IMAP account.

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